Ontario Correctional Facilities to Install Body Scanners

TORONTO, Ontario — Ontario correctional officials announced plans last week to install advanced technology full-body scanners in all 26 of the province’s adult correctional facilities. The installation will take place over two years as part of an effort to further improve staff and inmate safety, reduce contraband and enhance security. The first 11 scanners are scheduled to be installed by the end of March 2017.

The decision follows a successful six-month pilot project at the Toronto South Detention Centre that resulted in a clear reduction in contraband, reduced incidents involving weapons and improved overall institutional safety and security, according to a statement by the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services. During the pilot project 16,427 inmates were scanned and dozens of contraband items were confiscated.

The body-scanning units, which safely scan bodies for external and internal contraband not detected by existing security measures, have also been recommended in several coroner’s inquests, and are highly supported by correctional officers, provincial health and safety committees, and other correctional staff, according to the Ministry.

Enhancing security in correctional facilities across the province is a key part of the government’s transformation of Ontario’s correctional system to build safer communities. Current search methods cannot always detect and identify contraband that is hidden internally or that is non-metallic.

Moving forward with the installation of full-body scanners in all of Ontario’s adult correctional facilities will further improve staff and inmate safety, reduce contraband, and build safer communities for everyone, according to a statement by Yasir Naqvi, minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services. “I am proud to have worked closely with our correctional officers on this important safety improvement and look forward to continuing to transform Ontario’s correctional system by increasing access to rehabilitation programs, enhancing mental health supports, and improving community-based reintegration partnerships,” Naqvi added.

Ontario will be the first jurisdiction in the country to adopt full-body scanning technology in all adult correctional facilities. The purchase of the scanning systems was completed through a competitive procurement process to ensure value for taxpayer dollars. The total cost of the scanners, which also includes 10 years of maintenance, is $9.5 million.